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Goblin Valley State Park

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Trip to a sci-fi martian landscape

Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is an outstanding family destination and is like a sandcastle city.


Somewhere on that long stretch of I-70 between the Colorado state line and I-15, you have to make a stop. The kids are getting antsy in the back, the excitement of a road trip has started to wane, and you are wishing you splurged for satellite radio when you bought your SUV. You are in the mood for an adventure!

If you really want to stretch your legs and have some fun, exit I-70 at Green River and head south on Highway 24 until you reach the turn off for Goblin Valley State Park. It is a true gem of a state park that looks a lot like Mars, with geological wonders everywhere that you can climb on, run around, and hike in between.

Millions of years ago, much of Utah and Colorado were covered by an inland sea. When the sea disappeared, sandstone remained and through tectonic uplift and erosion, funny-looking rock formations were formed. Originally called Mushroom Valley in the 1920s by a rancher who was looking for a faster route south to Hanksville, it was acquired and designated a Utah state park in 1964. Since its opening, the public has been allowed, and even encouraged to climb on and around the sandstone “goblins” seemingly poking their heads and bodies out of the ground.

Whether you spend two hours in the valley, or camp overnight in the modern campground set back in one of the huge sandstone coves, you will have a marvelous time. Make sure you stop at the visitor’s center at the entrance. The kids can pick up their Junior Ranger activity guide to complete in the valley, and you can stock up on water and snacks for your fun in the park.

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Wade J., taking a break from the endless hide-and-go-seek game in-and-around the muddy sand sculptures.

Let the kids wander all around the state park.



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